PCE - Capella

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Project Details

Project - Capella
Sector - Education
Technology - Precast Concrete
Company - PCE

Project Overview

Winner of 2018 Offsite Awards - Best Use of Concrete Technology

Through early collaboration between PCE and Kier, we realised the aspiration to prefabricate as much of the superstructure as practically possible. Never before, has a hybrid of precast and insitu been used in a bio-science environment where vibration control was the primary driver for superstructure selection. Adopting a conventional approach would have resulted in significant pressures on the site and local resources. Through the development of a hybrid solution PCE was able to de-risk the construction phase of the project whilst providing cost certainty to the client.

The superstructure is recti-linear in form with 6.4m grids longitudinally and non-symmetrical grids ranging between 5.5m and 8.5m laterally. The laboratories are arranged through the centre of the structure with 'write-up' spaces adjacent to the façade and natural light. The aspiration was to create clear, flexible spaces with no down-stands to simplify the complex services integration whilst taking benefit of exposed concrete surfaces wherever possible.

Arranged over six storeys above a basement, the superstructure is principally configured from precast concrete elements, columns, stability cores, shear walls, stairs, landings and the lower portion of the floor plate. Edge beams are made of precast concrete to simplify interfaces with the façade whilst efficiently controlling deflection limits. Spine beams are a shallow composite steel concrete beam which maintains beam support to the same depth of the floor slab. Working with PCE we have optimised structural efficiency, internal finish and the simplification of construction. This coupled with the integration of reconstructed stone façade with integrated glazing has created the perfect balance of quality, cost and programme.

Bio-terrorism security requirements were easily accommodated within a hybrid precast design by mixing solid reinforced core modules mixed with a twin wall system.

Precast Concrete technology was utilised throughout the structural frame from Basement Liner walls, structural frame components including shear cores, floors, columns and beams and was also utilised for 90% of the façade. 5.5m high Basement liner walls utilised compositely with insitu waterproof concrete allowed the construction of the basement box in a fifth of the time to traditional methods. The hybrid precast:insitu frame including the stability cores was delivered significantly quicker and with huge reductions in on site man hours and site deliveries. Finally the high quality reconstructed stone envelope, configured as panelised system with curtain wall section preinstalled at the precast works, was constructed with just 8 men in 4 weeks without the need for any external scaffolding.